Okay, it's time to release the hounds, a barrage of cliche's worthy of grade B movies.
The Bay Watch has begun, with Bay's press conference today. Bay is certain to get the biggest ovation of his career. Terry Francona looked like the weight of the world had come off his shoulders. Francona is rumored to have lost fifteen pounds during the Dead Manny Walking crisis. The Sox finally extricated the sole survivor of the Isle of Manny by doing everything (as Jason Varitek said) "to get him out of town."
Nobody should feel that Jason Bay will produce at the level of a Hall of Famer. But the Sox have presumably solved their left field problems through 2009 and done so with an opportunity to put twelve million dollars together to address other weaknesses.
Bay will surely misplay some balls off the wall, strikeout in key situations, and leave runners on base. He will fail at times and at others he will succeed spectacularly. That is baseball.
How good is Jason Bay? Sometimes one can approximate using similarity scores from Baseball Reference. Who shows up on Bay's similarity scores? Somebody asked me for a comparison, and I said think about a right-handed hitting J.D. Drew.
And sure enough, who is on his similarity list?
The Sox still have issues, specifically consistency out of the bullpen, with erratic performances from Manny Delcarmen and Hideki Okajima, Mike Timlin showing his age, and Javier Lopez losing some left-handed luster recently.
Meanwhile, across the country, Joe Torre has already beaten cancer, so the addition of a new left fielder (Manny of LA Mancha) shouldn't faze him too much.
Go West, young Manny. Ramirez joins Fenway West, following Derek Lowe, Bill Mueller, and Nomar Garciaparra to points west. We should always remember the joy and frustration that was Manny Ramirez, from his opening day homer, 500th homer, critical post-season homers, and maddening brain farts and indifferent baserunning. Tonight begins the P.M. (post Manny) era.